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  • * UPDATED – ALL CHARGES DISMISSED …

    Posted on July 18th, 2014 Becky 8 comments

    * LIP News will be back tomorrow and I suggest that everyone at the Lancaster Newspapers take cover because their total lack of any reporting on the  “police involved shooting” one week ago today is one of the most shocking and despicable things this company has ever done.  And that’s saying a hell of a lot!  And every reporter and editor at that ridiculous and disgusting “news organization” has to personally own this!

    IN ONE CASE AGAINST
    RYAN RIVERA, 16

    Ryan Rivera
          Remember this story and the picture of Ryan Rivera, “Police arrest teen in shooting of 16-year-old in Lancaster city,” (click here)?  All the charges in the case were dismissed at his preliminary hearing. 
         Rivera is still charged in the shooting of a 14-year-old girl on High Street on January 28th of this year (click here).
         What in the world is going on?  When the Lancaster Police do make an arrest in a shooting, they can’t make the charges stick!  Unbelievable.
    Please check back later today.

  • * UPDATED – WHO’S RUNNING THE PRISON?

    Posted on April 22nd, 2011 Becky 6 comments

     

    * I am becoming truly annoyed.  I want to write but I want it to appear in a format people can easily read and looks good to the eye.  I have also said, I am a writer NOT a website designer.  But I know what works, and the old system worked.  This is not working.  (Hint to person I told that the originator of this site said to never update the WordPress version – please fix this problem!) 

        Tomorrow, come hell or high water, I will write about Tom Murse’s nonsensical and absurd articles this week, LNP’s and the DA’s attack on a candidate for Sheriff, Jeff Hawkes and the Prison Board Meeting, the murder of Diana Spencer and the total lack of information provided to the public, the denial of my Right To Know request for the estimated cost of the Grand Jury, disgraced Judge Dennis Reinaker apparently has many, many “task forces” and much more!

        Have a great Friday and please check back tomorrow. 

     TROUBLE!

    I have so much to say but no way to say it today!  Well, not the way I like to!  Yikes!  Wanting to make this site look more professional and more like a newspaper/magazine, a friend did a WordPress update yesterday, and now the way I used to publish seems to have been lost.  Please be patient as I work through these problems.  Sigh…

    More on the Prison Board Meeting will come later today.  This morning I thought I would show you pictures of your hardworking public servants at the board meeting!  In order they are:  Prison Warden Vincent Guarini sitting next to the Prison’s lawyer Ken Howard, disgraced Judge Dennis Reinaker, District Attorney Craig Stedman, acting Sheriff Mark Reese and the three Commissioners (who recently had their heads shaved in a cancer benefit) with their name tags.

  • AND THE RACISM BEGINS – AGAIN

    Posted on April 21st, 2011 Becky 1 comment

    WHAT IS GOING ON?

            But it was Oscar M. Martinez, 18, a junior at McCaskey, who apparently did the shooting, killing Spencer, 33, early Saturday morning, according to arrest warrant affidavits filed in the case.

    From today’s article, “Two accused in killing,” (click here).

        A junior in High School? 

    Please check back later today.

  • ***BREAKING NEWS*** MURDER OF DIANA SPENCER

    Posted on April 20th, 2011 Becky 1 comment

    ARREST MADE

    SECOND SUSPECT SOUGHT

    christopher-lassitteroscar-manuel-martinez–                                                                     

    Christopher Lassitter is on the left, Oscar Manuel Martinez on the right.

     

    UPDATED INFORMATION ON ARREST AS OF 19 APRIL 11:     

        As the investigation into this Homicide continued throughout Monday and into Tuesday, Detectives were able to develop the below two individuals as the suspects involved in this shooting….

     

                Oscar Manuel Martinez, 18

     

                800 Blk Manor St.

     

                Lancaster, Pa.

     

                Christopher L. Lassitter, 24  ***WANTED***

     

                LKA: 300 Blk Mill St.

     

                Lancaster, Pa.

     

                Approx. 5’9” to 5’10” tall, 160 lbs

     

         As a result, Detectives began to conduct surveillance on several locations in Lancaster City Tuesday evening, in search of these suspects.  City Police enlisted the assistance of the Lancaster County SERT TEAM, as well as the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office Detectives in an effort to locate these two suspects.  During this time, it was discovered that Oscar Martinez was inside his residence in the 800 Blk Manor St and after making telephone contact with Martinez and his family members, he walked outside of his residence and turned himself into Lancaster County SERT Officers shortly after 9:20 pm, Tuesday evening, 19 April 11.  Martinez was then conveyed to the Lancaster City Police Station, where he was interviewed by Detectives.   

         Martinez and Lassitter are being charged with Criminal Homicide and Criminal Conspiracy(to Commit Homicide) by Detective Kurt Miller before Magisterial District Judge Cheryl Hartman.  Martinez is being held for arraignment and the search for Lassitter is continuing.  Investigators are also exploring the possibility that others were involved as well.

         Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Lassitter or any other information related to this case, is asked to contact the Lancaster City Police at 735-3301.  Callers are reminded that they do not have to give their names to provide information.     

        ***The Lancaster City Police is respectfully requesting that the news media limit what is published in this case to that which is on this news release and to specifically refrain from publishing the names of any witnesses, should they become known, so as not to jeopardize anyone nor this ongoing investigation.***

  • *** UPDATED – LIVE TRIAL COVERAGE!

    Posted on March 14th, 2011 Becky No comments

    A WHOLE LOT OF CROUCHING

     *   Doctor Wayne Ross finally got his comeuppance today.  Defense attorney Jeffrey Conrad took him on in a brief physical exchange!  It’s not what you are thinking but it sure was a surprise!

     

    **  David Jordan looked downright dapper in a yellow shirt and tan pants his mother brought to court this morning along with his glasses atop his head.  Jordan is the only one of the four defendants who is acting as his own legal counsel.  He asked the Judge several times for a “severance motion” and was quickly denied each time.

     

     ***   It took me five trips to the Clerk of Courts Office today to obtain a copy of DA Stedman’s Application for a Grand Jury.  And guess what – somebody lied!

     

        “I don’t want to participate in any of this,” David Jordan told Judge Joseph Madenspacher this morning in the murder trial of Heather Marie Nunn in October of 2004.

        The Judge gave a small laugh.  Jordan is defending himself and was specifically referring to the playing of taped prison calls between Hayward Stewart and a friend.  Stewart is on trial along with Jordan and two other men.  Jordan objected because he said the tape had no relevance to him whatsoever.

        “This is a joint trial,” Judge Madenspacher replied.

        It is indeed, and Jordan remained in the courtroom while the other three defendants were taken out and a long discussion regarding the tapes ensued.

        The trial will resume today at 2:00 with the final prosecution witness, forensic pathologist Dr. Wayne Ross.

        There will be a full report later this evening and tomorrow.

  • YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!

    Posted on February 20th, 2011 Becky 4 comments

    Kathy Gelin

            A 10-year-old girl is missing (click here).  Anyone with information about her is asked to call police at 735-3300.

    Please check back later today.

  • *** BREAKING NEWS ***

    Posted on January 24th, 2011 Becky 3 comments

    DEMOCRATIC SLATE!

    LIP News has learned the following:

    Endorsed candidates for City Council by the Lancaster City Democratic Committee:
    Barbara Wilson
    James Reichenbach
    John Graupera
    Endorsed candidates for School Board of the School District of Lancaster by both the Lancaster City and Lancaster Township Democratic Committees:
    Stacey Martin (incumbent)
    Linda Owens (incumbent)
    Candice Roper
    Jennifer Desmarais
    Randolph Carney

  • THINGS ARE BREAKING ALL OVER!

    Posted on January 4th, 2011 Becky 8 comments

    WHAT SAY YOU?

         Lancaster Mayor J. Richard Gray returned my phone call this afternoon and I came home to a letter from David Cedeno (and apparently a certified letter from him is waiting at the Post Office for my signature)!  I’m off to pick it up!  Wow!  I will fill you in as soon as I get the chance!  (If it’s a package – I’m not opening it!)

  • A PAIN IS A PAIN?

    Posted on December 6th, 2010 Becky 2 comments

    FIELD HAS A FIELD DAY!

        The column Just a regular guy…hooked on pain pills” is a disgrace to Lancaster journalism and a lapse in the judgment of not only the columnist, that as far as we know is not a physician let alone a specialist in pain medicine, but also of his editors.

    Today’s NewsLanc.com column, “Who is Peter Mekeel to practice pain medicine?” (click here).

        It’s been a crazy Monday and I’m tired and cold, so today, I’m going to let Robert Field take on LNP on a topic he is far more familiar with than I: drugs and in this case, specifically prescription drugs.  I tried to find Mekeel’s column online to link to and failed except for those with an eEditions subscription. But his column about a man he describes as an “old friend” is simplistic with a far too easy fairytale ending.

        When someone gets Robert’s goat and he decides to take them on – he does some of his best writing.

  • YOU CAN MAKE STUFF UP?

    Posted on December 2nd, 2010 Becky 3 comments

    MORPHED INTO MARV?

          A few notes this afternoon:  I also received a denial in my appeal in my Right To Know request for the autopsy report of Scott McQuilkin yesterday.  Both of these denials (see this morning’s post) can be appealed – there will be more on that later. 

        Several people have asked if there is a way to have the comments under “COMMENTS GALORE” archived or something done to prevent having to scroll to the bottom to read the latest comments.  At this time, I don’t know how that can be achieved but I will explore several options.  There hopefully will be a revamping of this site in the near future to improve the look and have more topics readily available.

        Why? was one of those who asked and I am glad to hear she is out of the hospital and feeling better.  She is actually Kate, the wife of “Citydweller” of LancTalk.com.  I did receive an email from City, actually Steve, and I’m sorry I didn’t respond.  It came from a different email address and I was not absolutely certain it was from you. 

        Part of the reason I am suspect is that lately I have been getting spam from the name of a long ago Trashbacker I respected and corresponded with several times years ago.  I believe someone may have hacked or is mimicing his email address.  Gilby, the real Gilby, could you let me know?

        Be careful on the Internets, folks!

        Coming tomorrow – have I (gasp!) morphed into Marvelous Marv?  No.  But I’ll test your memory!

  • HAPPY TURKEY DAY!

    Posted on November 24th, 2010 Becky 11 comments

    HAVE A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!

    thanksgiving

    LIP News will resume daily publishing this Saturday, November 27.  Comments will remain open.

  • A JURY OF HIS PEERS?

    Posted on November 18th, 2010 Becky 15 comments

    HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?

          A spectator in David Jordan’s murder trial asks LNP reporter Janet Kelley on Monday why his jury is all white.   

        Two days later, the County Commissioners do away with the Human Relations Commission (click here).

    Please check back later today.

  • STILL WAITING…

    Posted on November 1st, 2010 Becky 16 comments

    A CHEAP SHOT?

         “‘We didn’t talk,’ Christy’s father, 64, said.  ’We didn’t say nothing to nobody.'”
        The last thing they wanted to do was jeopardize the case.
        “Now, her father sees things differently.  ’Nice people finish last.'”   

    Christy Mirack’s father quoted in the Sunday News in 2002 with parts reprinted on this site (click here).

        I reprint the above today for a reason.  You see, my friend Jodi and I went up to the fifth floor in the courthouse late Friday morning after viewing Coroner Diamantoni’s one page summary report on the death/murder of Lydia Colon-Torres.

        First District Attorney Christopher Larsen was not expecting us but graciously said he would come out into the hall to talk.

        We spoke for about 15 minutes.  “Have you been in contact with her family?” was one of the last things Larsen asked.  “No,” I said.  I told him I can’t find a way to contact them – something I am quite sure he already knew.

        “They are satisfied with the way the investigation is going,” he said.

         One, I think it’s a cheap shot because there is currently no way to substantiate his comment and he is referencing a mother-of-three children whose family must still be heavily grieving.

         Two, I find it very hard to believe her family is “satisfied” with her murder going unsolved for over a year. 

        Three, I believe that if her family does have complaints, they may well feel it is best to stay mum about them.

        After all, the police may well have told them not to say anything to anybody because it might “jeopardize” the case.

        Mr. Mirack is still waiting for his daughter’s killer to be arrested.

        Please check back tomorrow for more with Larsen.

  • WHERE ARE THE ANSWERS?

    Posted on November 1st, 2010 Becky No comments

    WHO KILLED LYDIA?

        There will be more to come on the death of Lydia Colon-Torres.  Did First Assistant District Attorney Christopher Larsen pull a dirty trick?

    Please check back later today…

  • APPEAL NUMBER ONE

    Posted on October 28th, 2010 Becky 2 comments

    THE RIGHT TO KNOW?

        With time running out and twenty minutes to compose a letter, today I appealed the District Attorney’s denial of my Right To Know request concerning the autopsy report on Lydia Colon-Torres.  It was sent by the United States Postal Service’s “Priority Mail” with a “Delivery Confirmation Request.” 

     

     Rebecca Holzinger

    209 E. Duval Street

    Phila., PA  19144

     

    Phone: (215)  350-5849

    Email:  BeckyH209@aol.com

      

    October 28, 2010

     

    Terry Mutchler

    Executive Director

    Office of Open Records

    400 North Street, 4th Floor

    Harrisburg, PA  17120

     

    Re:  Appeal of Right To Know Request

     

    Dear Mr. Mutchler:

     

        Please see the attached information regarding the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office’s denial of my Right To Know request.  My original request and their denial are also enclosed.

        I am not an attorney, and do not feel that I should need to be one to file a Right To Know request.  The District Attorney’s denial is filled with legal references that are Greek to a layperson.

        The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that autopsy records are public information.  The autopsy on Lydia Colon-Torres was performed over a year ago.  The District Attorney’s response states that it is an open criminal investigation, which has never been reported in the press, and not one piece of information surrounding her death has been released.  The public has the right to know the cause and manner of her death as apparently a killer is on the loose and the public needs basic information to take adequate actions to protect themselves. 

         There are a great number of unsolved murders in Lancaster County.  The public has the right to the basic information as to the manner and cause of her death.  How could this “compromise” their investigation?

     

    I look forward to your response.

     

    Sincerely,

      

    Rebecca Holzinger

  • SAME OLD SONG?

    Posted on October 26th, 2010 Becky 2 comments

    THE RIGHT TO KNOW?

       

    This response in from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office dated October 20, 2010.

     

    Dear Ms. Holzinger:

     

        Thank you for writing to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office with your request for information pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right to Know law (hereinafter, RTK law).  65 P.S. & 67.101 et seq.  On October 19, 2010 you requested:

            The autopsy report for Scott McQuiilkin whose 

             body was found in Reinholds, Pennsylvania on

             July 17, 2010.

     

        According to Coroner’s Office, the autopsy report for this case is not yet complete.  Accordingly, the requested record does not yet exist.  Moore v. Office of Open Records, Pa.Commw. (March 25, 2010)(Commonwealth agency cannot grant access to a record that does not exist, and cannot be made to create such a record).  Further, this incident involves a pending criminal case, the release of the autopsy report, even if completed, would compromise the Commonwealth’s ability to continue its investigation and prosecution.  Accordingly, your request for release of the autopsy report is denied.  65 P.S. 67.708(b)(16)(vi)(A.B.C.D.).

     

        Additionally, the request for the autopsy report is denied pursuant to RTK Exception 65 P.S. 67.708(b)(20) which specifically provides that autopsy reports and the attendant records are an exception to RTK(1) and 65 P.S. 67.708(b)(16) which protects all criminal investigative records.  Further, the request violates the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (Hereinafter, CHRIA), at 18 PA.C.S.A. & 9101 et seq., and && 9102.9106(c)(4).  See also; In RE:  Cullen, 2007, Pa. D&C Dec. LEXIS 1 (Lehigh Cnty. 2007).

     

        You have the right to appeal the denial of the autopsy report in writing to Terry Mutchler, Executive Director, Office of Open Records, Commonwealth Keystone Buiilding, 400 North Street, 4th Floor, Harrisburg, PA  17120.  If you choose to file an appeal of the denial of the autopsy report you must do so with 15 business days of the mailing date of this letter.  See 65.P.S. & 67.1101.

     

    Please be advised that this correspondence will serve to close this record with our office as permitted by law.

     

    Sincerely,

    Susan E. Moyer

    Assistant District Attorney/Right to Know Officer

     

        (1) Your request has been made solely under the Right to Know Law, the Coroner’s Act is not relevant to the request.  See Penn Jersey Advance, Inc. v. Grim, 962 A.2d 632 n.2 (Pa. 2009)(Supreme Court expresses no opinion as to relationship between RTK law in Pennsylvania and the Coroner’s Act).  Furthermore, even under the Coroner’s Act, a coroner is not required to deposit his official records and papers with the prothontary until thirty (30) days after the end of the year.  16 P.S. & 1251. 

  • BALANCING HATE?

    Posted on October 25th, 2010 Becky 8 comments

    BECKY-LAND?

        This comment in from Citydweller, the administrator of the LancTalk.com forum under “HABLA INGLES?” below:

        Galty,

        Artie was never banned, or even warned. He is still a full member of LT with full posting privileges, but he chooses not to post. That’s his deal, and it’s not my job to beg him back in. He was taken off the mod squad because he created the impression that he was planning to “out” a member in a rather volatile thread. Members can play that game, to a point, especially if they’re joking around, but staff cannot, ever. We have a large non-member audience that reads the site regularly, and most likely don’t know the in’s and out’s of “who’s who and what’s what”, and could take such a threat seriously and decide never to join our site due to such a statement, whether in jest or not.

        As for Sammy, he’s had several time-out’s, including being fully suspended for a week followed by being fully moderated following that. You can only swat at a gnat for so long before you have to move on to the rest of the world. He likes to keep his toenails right at the line, which is his right, but if he goes too far too much, he’ll meet the toaster.

        Galty, old boy (and others reading), it’s hard to maintain a balance between the constrictive vacuum of talkback and the complete chaos of philly.com, but that is what we strive for. Room for everyone, within reason. The real problem is that people just think we all have 3G iPads and watch every thread 24-7-365 to contain their little issues, instead of just hitting the “report” button so we’d actually know someone’s panties were in a bunch. Actually strikes me as odd, you know, whining about LT issues with other posters on other forums, instead of just reporting their problems by hitting a little button right in the thread. Kid you not, we’ve had three reports in three months.

        Sorry to be so long-winded, but more people seem interested here in Becky-Land about how LT is run than on the site itself. In short, Artie was never “shut up”, he was simply demoted from moderator to ordinary member, and Samcro is to-date probably the most-punished member in our brief history, short of being banned.

        Strikes me as odd sometimes that so many armchair complainers will spend time denigrating us on others sites without even taking the time to set up camp at LT and see how well they fare on their own accord. Truth is, the best way to be heard is to come the hell in and speak you peace already.

        Nuff said.

    Please check back later today.

  • A TIGHT GRIP & WHO’S IN CONTROL?

    Posted on October 17th, 2010 Becky 11 comments

     

    MORONS & BANKS?

         I’m taking another semi-break today.  The weather is gorgeous and too many Philly teams are playing!

        To the writer of the comment posted this morning, did you read Saturday’s Intell editorial, “Morons at a parade,”:

        The Southern Poverty Law Center lists 28 hate groups in Pennsylvania, including the Creativity Alliance, a neo-Nazi group based in Wrightsville.

        And when I said the return of the Klan, I was referring at that time to LNP’s Trashback forum where two known Klan members absolutely were posting for several years. 

        Forums are their new recruitment method and their primary podium to spread their messages of hate.  And “morons” is not an apt description for these very sick and dangerous individuals!  There will be more on this and the other topics listed this morning coming this week.

    MAKE THAT CALL!

        What is scarier than being forced out of your home?  The mortgage companies are now on the defensive to prove their paperwork is in order and accurate.  Click here for today’s article, “Foreclosure figures headed for record.”

        Mitchell Sommers, an attorney in Ephrata and Lancaster, is quoted in part:

        “I would tell a client that we need to look at these securitization issue, with an eye on going to the bank and saying, ‘If you’re not going to modify this [mortgage], you may have some problems.’”

        I know Mitch, and if you want to talk to him about foreclosure issues, you can reach him here.  Most initial consultations for bankruptcy related issues – which foreclosure might be – are free. 

        Go Phillies and Eagles!  Okay, so I have to give a shout-out to the Steelers for my confused friends – or I will never hear the end of it!

  • MUDDYING THE WATERS

    Posted on October 11th, 2010 Becky No comments

    DOWN & DIRTY

        Republicans, Democrats and tea partiers running in this year’s midterm elections are calling for greater transparency.

        As journalists, we’re all for it.

        …If money talks, we ought to know who is doing the talking.

    This morning’s Intell editorial, “As clear as mud.”

        Oh, please!  I was thinking this morning about the convention center, about former Commissoner Molly Henderson, about Donald Totaro and his two investigative grand juries and Coroner Diamantoni and the deaths of Scott McQuilkin and Lydia Colon-Torres.  The coroner completed his autopsy on Colon-Torres on October 5 over one year ago.  Who killed her and why haven’t the Lancaster Newspapers written a word about her for months and months?  It’s as clear as mud?

  • ** AFTER ONE YEAR – A COLD CASE?

    Posted on October 10th, 2010 Becky 1 comment

     

    ** There are days when I have to take a break – because I know that I am too angry to type.  Today is such a day.  I will simply take you to this from my November 12, 2009 post (click here):  

    *** BREAKING NEWS ***

           There were “highly unusual features surrounding the death” of Lydia Colon-Torres, Coroner Steven Diamantoni said in a phone interview this morning.

    Please check back later this afternoon… 

    WHO KILLED LYDIA COLON-TORRES?

    lydia-colon-torres2

    Please check back later today.

  • EYES ON THE PRIZE?

    Posted on October 8th, 2010 Becky No comments

    WATCHING YOU!

         We’ve got a conversation about race going on!  See comments under “SNAKES IN THE GRASS” below.

         And speaking of snake hunting, there is this bizarre story today, “Intel-gathering firm watched groups here,” (click here).  It’s too early in the morning for me to even begin to wrap my brain around this one!

    Please check back later today.

  • DEADLOCKED? – 2

    Posted on October 3rd, 2010 Becky No comments

    CULTURE OF ABUSE?

        “They aren’t deadlocked,” Judge Anita Brody told the attorney from the Traveler’s Insurance Company in Federal Court on Friday.  It was the second time the jury of seven women and five men had returned in the afternoon to say they could not reach a verdict in the Paul Barbacano versus Warden Vincent Guarini and three corrections officers’ trial.

        Brody, however, discounted the first time the jury returned.  They had given the exact count of how the jurors stood in their note to the Judge.  “They aren’t supposed to do that,” Brody said.  “Never let me know the numbers of how you stand,” she told the jury and stated the note would immediately be put under seal and never read by anyone ever again.

        The jury will return this Monday morning to continue their deliberations – unless a deal is made.  On several occasions, Judge Brody urged the two sides to “talk to each other” including over the weekend as she adjourned the courtroom for the day at 4:00. On the jury’s communication at 2:10 that they could not reach a verdict, Brody said to both sides after the jury left the courtroom, “Is there any chance of settling this?  Have you talked to each other?  I don’t want to try this case again.”

        There was little reaction from either side.  The defendants, Guariani and Corrections Officers, Villerel, Riley and Wolfe are represented by two attorneys from Travelers – the company that insures the prison.

        Barbacano is represented by the Lancaster law firm of Cymer, Musser, Brown & Conrad, P.C.  Leonard Brown, Jeffrey Conrad and Emily Bell from the firm were in the courtroom on Friday. 

        Barbacano, 37, dressed in a green shirt and dark green pants sat at the Plaintiff’s table whenever the jury returned and looked drained.

        Guarini and the corrections officers sat in the front row of the spectator benches on the other side of the courtroom behind their defense attorneys.

        Friday was the only day I was able to attend – so I obviously missed all the testimony and closing arguments during the week long trial.  As no verdict has been reached, the lawyers can not discuss the case. 

        The trial is the result of a law suit filed in Federal Court on October 24, 2008.  It is reprinted here in full – beginning with page 5 of the 14 page complaint:

       

    V. STATEMENT OF RELEVANT FACTS

    11) For years, the Lancaster County Prison has fostered an environment and culture of abuse. Guards known as “gunslingers” routinely beat and abuse prisoners without control, accountability or discipline from supervisors. Guards who speak up against such abuse are marginalized into silence.

    12) On September 20, 2007, Mr. Barbacano was arrested on an outstanding 2004 Driving Under the Influence warrant and held in Lancaster County Prison pending trial.1

    13) Mr. Barbacano was assigned to block G-2 with cellmate Gordon Leschke.

    14) On or about November 12, 2007, at approximately 4:00 p.m., Mr. Barbacano became engaged in an argument with his cellmate after Leschke defecated on the wall in their cell. Mr. Barbacano and Leschke argued, but no physical contact or violence occurred between them.

    15) Defendant Villerel came to the cell at Mr. Barbacano’s request. Villerel opened the cell door and put handcuffs on Mr. Barbacano. As Mr. Barbacano was removed from the cell, Villerel yelled at Mr. Barbacano to“stop resisting.”

     

    1 According to the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas Docket Sheet in his case, Mr. Barbacano was sentenced on March 3, 2008 to 4 to 23 months and 1 year probation.  Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 5 of 14

     

    16) Mr. Barbacano loudly proclaimed that he was not resisting in order that the other prisoners would see that Defendant Villerel was mistreating him.

    17) Leschke, and other prisoners, witnessed Defendant Villerel slam Mr. Barbacano’s head down onto the top of the guard’s desk several times despite the fact that Mr. Barbacano was handcuffed and offered no resistance.

    18) Despite never observing any physical contact between Leschke and Barbacano, defendant Villerel told Defendants Riley and Wolfe that Mr. Barbacano “likes to beat up on old men” (an apparent reference to his cellmate Leschke).

    19) While forcing Mr. Barbacano out of the cell block, Defendants Riley and Wolfe attempted to open the door between block G-2 and the hallway by slamming Mr. Barbacano’s head into the door at least four times. To mask their cruel torture of Mr. Barbacano, defendants accused Mr.

    Barbacano of resisting, while Mr. Barbacano continued to loudly insist that he was not resisting.

    20) Defendants Riley and Wolfe were so rough with Mr. Barbacano that his shoes were knocked off. He asked for them back, but Defendants said, “you won’t need them where you’re going.”

    21) While Mr. Barbacano was escorted down the hallway, Defendants Riley and Wolfe repeatedly banged his head into the wall and continued to falsely accuse Mr. Barbacano of resisting.  Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 6 of 14

    22) Defendants Riley and Wolf then took Mr. Barbacano into the elevator where they again slammed Mr. Barbacano’s head into the doors.

    23) Once in the elevator, Defendant Riley accused Mr. Barbacano of assaulting Defendant Wolffe and Defendant Wolffe accused Mr.  Barbacano of assaulting Defendant Riley. In retaliation for the alleged “abuse” they pummeled Mr. Barbacano with closed-fist punches to his head.

    24) Mr. Barbacano has no memory of being taken from the elevator to solitary confinement and believes that he blacked-out from the first round of beatings.

    25) In solitary confinement, Mr. Barbacano was stripped naked and handcuffed behind his back. An officer put his knee in Mr. Barbacano back to hold him still while Defendant Riley punched Mr. Barbacano approximately fifteen to twenty times in the face. As Riley beat Mr. Barbacano, Mr. Barbacano began pleading for mercy, which caused Riley to beat him all the more.

    26) Mr. Barbacano was then stood up and someone removed his handcuffs while Defendant Riley attempted to provoke Mr. Barbacano into hitting him. Defendant Riley stated, “This is the part I love, go ahead and hit me.”

    27) Mr. Barbacano, who had never resisted, dazedly mumbled “what are you doing?” and refused to be provoked by Defendant Riley.  Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 7 of 14

    28) Mr. Barbacano was taken back to “the hole” Phase I, where other inmates told Mr. Barbacano to have a white shirt (supervisor) take him to medical for treatment because he was badly beaten. Mr. Barbacano was taken to medical and received an ice pack, but medical staff refused to document his injuries with pictures.

    29) Defendant Villerel reported Mr. Barbacano for assaulting an inmate and creating a disturbance.

    30) At Mr. Barbacano’s “hearing” on Villerel’s charges before a supervisor (“white shirt”), Mr. Barbacano admitted that he was loudly proclaiming that he was not resisting but denied ever assaulting his cellmate.

    31) Mr. Barbacano was found guilty of creating a disturbance because he admitted that he made noise in an attempt to make sure that witnesses were watching the abuse that he received in G-2.

    32) The supervisor found that Mr. Barbacano did not assault Mr. Leshke.

     

    VI. CAUSES OF ACTION

    Count I

    Deliberate Indifference To Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment Rights

    (42 U.S.C. § 1983) – Beating prisoner and inflicting wanton and

    unnecessary pain.

    33) Plaintiff incorporates and adopts by reference each and every allegation in the preceding paragraphs of this Complaint.

    34) Individuals awaiting trial do not forfeit their rights to be treated humanely just because they are detained. The Fourth Amendment specifically protects detainees from cruel and unusual punishment. Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 8 of 14

    35) Defendant Correctional Officers violated Mr. Barbacano’s Fourth Amendment Rights that are designed to uphold the dignity of man, which was violated by punitive treatment that inflicted “wanton and unnecessary” pain. Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 737-38 (2002).

    36) The beating described above was both: “(1) a sufficiently serious constitutional deprivation; and (2) deliberate indifference by the prison official-defendants.” Beers-Capitol v. Whetzel, 256 F.3d 120, 130 (3rd Cir.

    2001).

    37) Being stripped naked and beaten unconscious with hits and punches to the head is the type of wanton and unnecessary pain that constitutes a serious deprivation of Mr. Barbacano’s rights.

    38) Defendant Correctional Officers were state actors that purposely beat Mr. Barbacano, passing the standard of mere deliberate indifference.

    39) It was “‘sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand that what he is doing violates’” the right to be free from excessive force and cruel and unusual punishment so the Defendant Officers are not entitled to qualified immunity under § 1983 because a beating is a clear violation of Mr. Barbacano’s Fourth Amendment rights.

    40) The Lancaster County Prison maintains a pattern and practice of unjustified, unreasonable and illegal force.

    WHEREFORE, plaintiff demands judgment against defendants as set forth in his prayer for relief.  Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 9 of 14

     

    Count II

    Policy, Custom, and Practice (42 U.S.C. § 1983) – Having Policies, Customs, and Practices That Lead to Prisoner Abuse

    41) Plaintiff incorporates and adopts by reference each and every allegation in the preceding paragraphs of this Complaint.

    42) A number of correction officers at Lancaster County Prison engage in unprovoked or verbally provoked malicious and sadistic abuse of prisoners. The Fourth Amendment allows that corrections officers may use the degree of force necessary to a good faith effort to restore discipline. However, a verbal statement by a prisoner is never grounds for physical force by a guard and evidences a lack of adequate training.  Likewise, prisoner refusal to eat prison food is not constitutionally permissible grounds for the use of physical force upon a prisoner.  Despite these well and long-established principles, inmates are routinely hit, tasered and beaten for verbal comments and refusal to consume food.

    43) Lancaster County Prison maintains a policy, custom and practice of guard abuse of prisoners. This policy of abuse is an actionable ‘custom’ as it is so long-standing and well-settled that it can be said to virtually constitute law.

    44) The custom or practice of prisoner beatings “may be established by proof of knowledge or acquiescence” Eichleman, 510 F. Supp. 2d at 395. Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 10 of 14

    45) Policies for which the County and the Warden are responsible that acquiesced to the culture of violence inside Lancaster County Prison include, inter alia:

    a) Having a custom, policy, and practice of failing to properly train and supervise Correctional Officers, allowing Officers to use wanton and unnecessary force on prisoners.

    b) Failure to discipline correction officers who abuse prisoners.

    c) Failure to have any system by which correction officers who abuse guards are identified and held accountable for their conduct.

    d) Having a custom, policy, and practice of downplaying the degree of force used by Correctional Officers against prisoners (See Eichelman, where prison medical staff briefly treated Eichelman who after his release was actually hospitalized from injuries received while in prison. Eichelman, 510 F. Supp. 2d at 385.

    46) It is believed and therefore averred that a group of Corrections Officers, including Defendants, have made abusing inmates “a well-settled practice” at Lancaster County Prison, creating a custom and policy to which the County and its policymaker, Warden Guarini, acquiesced.

    Eichelman, 510 F. Supp. 2d at 397.

    47) Warden Guarini is also liable as a deliberately indifferent supervisor under the test applied in Eichelman and Beers-Capitol: “[A] supervisor [is] liable for his deficient policies if…: (1) the existing policy or practice created an unreasonable risk of the constitutional injury he sustained; Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 11 of 14

     (2) the supervisor was aware of the unreasonable risk that was created (or that it was so great and so obvious); (3) he was indifferent to that risk; and (4) the injury resulted from the policy or practice. Eichelman, 510 F. Supp. 2d at 397.

    48) The custom of prison guards using wanton and unnecessary force on prisoners is a clear risk of constitutional injury, the Warden should have been aware of the numerous incidents and reports, the Warden did not take action to address this risk, and the Mr. Barbacano was injured as a result of the ongoing practice of wanton and unnecessary violence

    perpetrated by the guards.

    WHEREFORE, Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendants as set forth in his prayer for relief.

     

    Count III Assault and Battery

    49) Plaintiff incorporates and adopts by reference each and every allegation in the preceding paragraphs of this Complaint.

    50) By intentionally beating Mr. Barbacano, defendant committed assault and battery in violation of Pennsylvania common law.

    51) Defendant’s individual and repeated actions were extreme and outrageous causing great humiliation, embarrassment, severe emotional distress and suffering to Mr. Barbacano.

    WHEREFORE plaintiff respectfully requests the damages outlined in the  Prayer for Relief.

     

    COUNT IV

    Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 12 of 14

    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

    52) Plaintiff hereby realleges all matters set forth in the preceding paragraphs of this Complaint and incorporates them herein.

    53) The conduct of defendant was extreme and outrageous.

    54) The conduct described in the previous paragraphs was intentional or reckless.

    55) The conduct described in the previous paragraph caused severe emotional distress to Mr. Barbacano for which he has sought counseling.

    WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays for relief against defendants as hereinafter set forth in the prayer for relief.

     

    VII. RELIEF REQUESTED

    WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests the following relief:

    1. A ruling that Defendants’ conduct was unconstitutional and against the laws of human dignity and the Fourth Amendment;

    2. Nominal damages and compensatory damages from Defendants for their unlawful conduct;

    3. Punitive damages against defendants in their individual capacities for the outrageous nature of their abuse and for the unconstitutional custom, policy and practice of abuse with the Lancaster County Prison;

    4. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988, an award to Plaintiff of reasonable attorney fees and costs; Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 13 of 14

    5. An award to Plaintiff of such other and further relief as is just and proper.

     

    Respectfully submitted,

    CLYMER & MUSSER, P.C.

    _s/Leonard G. Brown, III LGB6402_

    LEONARD G. BROWN, III

    Pennsylvania Bar No. 83207

    408 West Chestnut Street

    Lancaster, PA 17603

    (717) 299-7101 (717) 299-5115—facsimile

    Dated: October 22, 2008 ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF

    Case 5:08-cv-05098-AB Document 1 Filed 10/24/08 Page 14 of 14

  • A DANGEROUS CULT?

    Posted on September 30th, 2010 Becky 9 comments

    INCEST ON MANY LEVELS

         This comment in:

        In other areas and communities where the Amish have migrated to, they are not the ‘bedrock’ of the economy of the area nor the way that the community has identified itself for many, many years.

        Lancaster County has identified for so long with the ‘plain people’ and the horrific murders of those children at the Amish school placed Lancaster in the spotlight once again. The local media fed on this story and the LNP even published a “brochure” about it.

        I believe the Amish do hold a different and protected place in Lancaster unlike many other places they live. If you do a search, you will find a number of investigations and expose’s in areas not based upon their existence in the community. I believe it is one of the reasons that the family I mentioned above moved to Pennsylvania.  [The writer is talking about this story – click here. ] 

        Lancaster will one day become the “land of the legendary Amish” after all the malls, McMansions, etc. encroach even more on their territory. Until then, I believe the courts, TV, etc. will handle them very differently in Lancaster – because of their history in the area and the recent horrors that have happened to them instead of by them. Lancaster does not wish to be placed in a situation where it is perceived that the Amish are being persecuted by the courts etc.

        Basically the area is not ready to bite the hand that has fed it so long.

        Interesting and I’m in agreement with you except for the “persecuted by the courts” perception especially as it relates to this crime.  A father and son molesting multiple girls under thirteen years of age?  This story has incest written all over it on so many levels.  What a horror and a nightmare and a crime for which these men should receive long jail terms.  I can not imagine how the victims will recover.  This is an absolute miscarriage of justice.  For the prosecution to agree to a probation only plea is an outrage.  We will watch carefully to see what the judge actually sentences these men to.

  • PLAYING BY THE BOOK?

    Posted on September 28th, 2010 Becky No comments

    MOONLIGHTING?

    rmiller2

    ADA Randall Miller

         City police Detective Sgt. Matthew Blake charged Lopez with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors. Police said Lopez sexually assaulted the girl in July 2009 inside a city home.

        Assistant District Attorney Randall Miller prosecuted the case. Lopez was represented by defense attorney Douglas A. Conrad.

        Sentencing will be deferred until Lopez is evaluated by a court psychologist to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator.

    Today’s article, “Lancaster man faces up to 20 years in prison in sexual assault of 14-year-old girl, “(click here).

        Is ADA Randall Miller still the legal counsel for T. W. Ponessa & Associates who may evaluate the perpetrator and provide counseling for the girl?

    Please check back later today.

  • GROCERY LIST!

    Posted on September 26th, 2010 Becky 8 comments

    ADD TO CART?

         Sometimes I wonder how we’d do it without Amelia’s.

        Which is to say we buy our groceries from a variety of different supermarkets and produce stands.  But when it comes to bang for you buck, it’s hard to beat a discount grocer like Amelia’s, or Aldi’s, or Shop-Rite –there are many around.

    Associate Sunday News Editor Gil Smart in his column today, “Years late, dollars short.”

        Shop much, Gil?  I love ShopRite (please note there is no hyphen) and their prices are great but they are a regular grocery chain and not a discount grocer.  You mean Save-A-Lot, Gil, which I also like and if you shop there you really do save a lot!

    IT’S NOT FUNNY!

        And Editor, Marvelous Marv, again turns to the police log for what he hopes is humor – trust me it’s not – and says this in his column today:

        At a supermarket on Manheim Pike, an East Petersburg man, 58, was arrested for disorderly conduct after he confronted another customer about the number of items the person had to check out in the express lane.

        This is totally understandable and I can’t believe the police arrested this man.  Have you ever been behind someone in the express lane with 25 items in their cart?  There is no excuse for this outrageous behavior.  The six cans of beans do not count as one item – they are six!  It’s obvious that Marv and Gil haven’t been inside a grocery store in years.

    LOVER BOY?

        And Gil has today’s front page article with, “McCaskey coach left acting off his resume,” (click here).  Under the article a Trashbacker posted this:

        So what. He left acting off his resume! He also left child molestation off.

        Well said!  And in this long, ridiculous article, Gil quotes the superintendent as follows:

        “We read his credits and realized [his roles] were not inappropriate by any means,” Rivera said.

        Then genius Gil states several paragraphs later:

        Three years later, in 1981, he had an uncredited bit part as “Lover Boy” in the racy teenage sex comedy “Private Lessons,” starring Sylvia Kristel.
        So which is it – not inappropriate or racy?  What does “racy” mean and how does Gil know?  Did he watch it on company time? 

    HOW MUCH DID YOU TAKE HOME?
        Under an article about the Human Relations Commission a Trashbacker said this:

        Artie, with all due respect I will take care of myself if i am wronged in the future. My last paycheck had $2,800.65 taken out for TAXES. How much of my wealth do you really want or need. Have you no shame? How about you take care of you and i will take care of me.

       Well, I guess you don’t shop at Save-A-Lot!  Ummm… was that paycheck for two weeks?  I want all of your wealth!  What are you, a rocket scientist?  You do know “I” should be upper case, don’t you?

    CRAPPIEST CRIMINAL ATTORNEY?

        And finally, for lovers of snark, today’s prize goes to “Citydweller” of LancTalk.com under the article, “City warrant list continues to grow,” (click here), where Mayor Gray is quoted as follows:

        “Naïve is not a word I use to describe myself,” Gray said, “but when I took office I had no idea of the amount of bureaucracy in the system.”

        Citydweller responded with this:

        Wow, you had no idea? Man, you must have been the crappiest criminal attorney in Lancaster city. 30 years representing petty thugs in the judicial system, and you didn’t even know how it worked. Amazing.  
        Amazing snark!  Well done!